by Mary S.W., Work-Study, IHF Nakuru
One valuable piece of reality that one will learn when immersing oneself into the IHF family for an extended period of time, is the simplicity and strength of those who live life well. For instance, a handful of the children who are here thriving at the Nakuru Center lived through the post-election violence of 2007, yet, their joy and energy everyday show a life full of love and radiance rather than fear and hurt. Likewise, when reflecting upon the lives they lead, receiving an education and having food available three times a day prove to be the staples to a successful journey –and the rest is, well, fluff. For instance, I recently traveled with one of the older boys from the Center to visit his grandmother, his only surviving and known blood relative still standing. It was a bit of a trip, with a couple of matatu rides (the Kenyan bus) followed by a 30+ minute piki ride (the Kenya motorcycle that serves as a taxi service). Thus, one might say that we went off into the middle of nowhere. Yet, upon my arrival, I felt a sense of majestic simplicity. The rain is abundant for the village, thus the crops are very green and lush, the kids are happy in community, and the caretakers seamlessly prepare the best food I have had yet in Kenya. A part of me looked at David and thought, why don’t you stay here? Though very simple, there is an element of paradise to his homeland, alive with family and food –about everything you need to lead happy, full days. Yet, then the other side of me kicks in that recognizes what I see of myself in David, and that is ambition. David yearns to do something great in this life –to earn a living, to see the world, and to give back–, to have more to offer than what he lives off of everyday –and this is also something that cannot be taken for granted. At the end of the day, bitter-sweetly, David and I, indeed, returned to Nakuru, because we have a mission here, an opportunity to educate ourselves (though by different means) and a hope to make things better for ourselves and others. Thus, at the end of the day, one realizes, it is the family (blood related and non-blood related), available food, and the appreciated opportunities one seizes that make all of the difference in the world, and there is nothing mundane about it. Regardless of what has happened in the past, these roots are still what drive these kids everyday. It is a simple strength.